Last week The Times newspaper published an article where they said that they had found Shamima Begum, one of the three girls who who fled the U.K. in 2015 to join Isis.
The article was an interview and a video with Shamima Begum, who was due to give birth at any moment to her third child. I watched the video, I read the interview, I printed it out and read it again.
Now the country is in a debate as to whether the U.K. should simply allow her back into our arms, with a baby that she has had with a husband she doesn’t know the location of.
I remember the three girls, all fourteen or fifteen, when the news broke in February 2015 about them fleeing the country to go and be part of Isis. The pictures of them captured on CCTV let us see three young girls who looked carefree, who looked like they were off on holiday rather than dashing off to join the caliphate.
I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase all left, as I understand it, having being recruited here. There was a hoo-ha when they left and then nothing much for four years until The Times found Shamima Begum in a Syrian refugee camp. Now nineteen, she is practically begging to be allowed back into the U.K. with her baby, basically because it hasn’t all worked out for her as an Isis bride.
I find myself a little torn on this one. At first I was thinking that she should be allowed back in, for the baby if nothing else. She was fifteen when she left, a young, impressionable mind. Yet, she has now spoken of how she knew about beheadings and things like that and it didn’t phase her. She told Anthony Loyd of The Times that she had seen the head of someone just lying in a bin and it didn’t bother her. To me, that’s cold and callous.
There is no remorse for what she has done.
In another interview, this time with John Sparks of Sky News, that people should feel sympathy for her for everything that she’s been through. Yet in other parts of the interview, and in other interviews, she has said the videos made everything look good in joining Isis. She has said that she was happy, that she was a housewife and she has done nothing wrong. She has said that there is no evidence of her doing anything wrong.
In and interview with BBC News’s Quentin Sommerville, Shamima Begum was asked about the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. Begum claimed she didn’t know that children had died. She also likened it to women and children dying in Syria and therefore went along with the line that it was retaliation.
I don’t know whether she is confused, whether she is playing a game or what she is doing. She seems completely sympathetic to the Isis cause and comes across as only really willing to come back to the U.K. for the sake of her child. Not for any other reason, not because she says she has done anything wrong, entirely the opposite. She’s “willing” to rehabilitate to the British way of life.
It comes to mind that she hasn’t a clue what she faces. Her family want to bring the baby up among them, providing they are not radicalised in any way. – I assume that’s been checked.
Security minister, Ben Wallace, said last week that he would not commit nor authorise any sort of rescue mission and that he would not put people at risk for her. Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has back this up, even willing to comment that he could prevent her returning to the U.K. full stop.
I understand that Begum has just given birth, but she is coming across as someone who just got fed up with what she was doing and expects others to come and save her. That is categorically not going to happen. She will have to get herself to a British Embassy in order to begin any hope of coming back to the U.K. Is that a bit harsh? Sadly, I don’t think so. She may have been fifteen when she dashed off, but she has stated that at that time she was able to make her own decisions.
Shamima Begum, now nineteen, expects the U.K. to come running to her rescue now. Her family are begging for her to be allowed back in, but if she is allowed back in, she’ll face the consequences of her action, or she should. She doesn’t give any indication that she really wants to stay live in the U.K. though states that she does still have some British values. I don’t think so. From the age of fifteen she gave all that up and went to live as the Bride of Isis.
We know that Kadiza Sultana died in an air strike a couple of years ago but, the fate of Amira Abase is unknown, another thing Begum doesn’t seem too bothered about.
I’m leaning towards not letting her back in. Then I think about the innocent baby and I wonder what will become of him should the U.K. shun her attempts to come back to a country that she knows will look after her.